Eisenberg: 50 Words or Less


Various thoughts on various things, all in 50 words or less:

Continuing to stop the run and get off the field on third down become the first commandments for the Ravens' defense with Marlon Humphrey's injury having pushed the secondary to the brink of what it can endure. When in doubt, keep doing what you do well and go from there.

Having said that, it stands to reason that the defense probably won't stuff Cleveland's powerful running game in Sunday's rematch as thoroughly as it did in the first game between the teams. But even a semblance of a repeat performance probably would be enough to give the Ravens another win.

It's understandable that Humphrey's injury has hogged the news. But the loss of right tackle Patrick Mekari, due to a hand injury, is just as important short-term, if not moreso, with the O-line needing to keep the Browns' Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney somewhat in check Sunday.

Mekari's injury contributed to the buzz generated by tackle Ja'Wuan James' surprising return to practice this week. No one knows when he'll be available this season, if at all, and whether he can be effective if he does play. But you know the Ravens would love to have the option.

Count me among those who think going into hurry-up mode more often might help the Ravens' offense. As Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman noted, Lamar Jackson generally looks comfortable and performs well when the clock is ticking down. Why not put him in the same mindset when it isn't expected?

It's interesting that the Browns are playing back-to-back games against the Ravens with a bye in between. But will that matter Sunday? A week off helps any team, but I'm dubious of back-to-back being an edge either way in a game between division rivals who already know each other cold.

With 27 receptions, Sammy Watkins trails the Ravens' team leaders, Marquise Brown (65) and Mark Andrews (64). But no one on the offense (outside of Jackson) has made more big plays in clutch situations. By themselves, Watkins' efforts with games on the line have made him a worthwhile offensive addition.

It's quite relevant to the Ravens that only three AFC teams (Jaguars, Jets, Texans) are out of the playoff picture and everyone else, yes, 13 teams, have at least six wins and a realistic chance of reaching the postseason. Woe unto anyone who stumbles down the stretch. They'll get passed.

Never imagined I'd see the day when the Ravens' offense is struggling to generate explosive plays with Jackson at quarterback. But here we are. Going back to Week 5, 15 of their last 18 touchdowns have come on plays covering less than 10 yards. Nothing is coming easily.

The Ravens' loss to the Steelers was looking bad when Pittsburgh, seemingly sound asleep, trailed Minnesota by 29 points in the third quarter Thursday night. The monumental rally that ensued, falling just short, exemplified why NFL ratings dwarf those for all other sports. You never know what you might see.

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